By Karen Howard-Winters Odessa
I believe our livelihood is in great danger of becoming destroyed by a company named Holtec International. They have applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a 40-year license for an interim High-Level Radioactive Nuclear Waste Facility to be built between Carlsbad and Hobbs, New Mexico.
This is not the facility in Andrews. Although, now that Holtec has applied for their license, Waste Management Specialists (WCS) had placed their license request for the High-Level Radioactive Nuclear Waste on hold due to issues regarding the pending sale of their facility to Orano. However, now that the sale is complete and things have settled down, and they are watching what is going on with Holtec. Then, we fear, Orano is going to revise and reapply for a license requesting for the same as Holtec – high-level radioactive nuclear waste to be disposed of in the Andrews site, claiming it to be interim as well.
Why are we concerned and people in Midland and Odessa should be, too?
1. This is the first time anything of this gravity has ever been attempted in this country!
a. Radioactive waste has been moved around, but nothing remotely on this level of danger, nothing on this scope of magnitude and nothing on this level or for this interim duration.
b. Our deep concern is that no permanent site has even been discussed yet!!
c. By the time a “permanent” repository is found (which will probably be never) the canisters/casks will be too fragile to be moved due to deterioration from sun exposure/weathering or just time in general and the site will become a de facto permanent disposal site and another Super Fund site that New Mexico will have to try to maintain forever.
2. The Holtec site is on top of our Permian Basin oil reserves sitting directly on top of the Delaware Basin and our Olgalla Aquifer and don’t let any tell you they’re not as the old maps tell you they are.
3. This deadly waste is responsible for cancers, genetic birth defects and deaths as witnessed in the Tulrosa Basin Downwinders Claims after the atomic bomb experiments at the Los Alamos experimental site prior to the dropping of the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended WWII. The town of Trinity was never advised of these trials and the fallout affected the towns’ people with all kinds of different cancers that no one had ever had before.
4. This radioactive waste (even though they tell you it is in solid form and is more easily handled), is to be sent here by rail coming through Odessa. If that train wrecks on Faudree and Hwy 80 would have contained nuclear waste, it would have taken out the Odessa Country Club Golf Course and some of the richest real estate in Odessa as the land will become unusable for 25,000 years or more.
5. What’s going to happen if an accident leaves the land unable to be used for drilling for oil? The Fasken Oil Company came to Roswell to testify in front of the NRC to say that this is a bad idea and vowed to do everything they can to round up all the people in the Permian Basin Oil Industry to fight this licensing.
6. One of the Midland commissioners flew in to Roswell and brought not only Fasken Oil, but a rancher from one of the big area ranches who have been in Midland County for over 102 years who has vowed to fight this with fellow ranchers.
7. One railcar contains the same amount of plutonium as was dropped on Nagasaki.
8. The land on which they have proposed to build this site is geologically unstable and there is a study out by Southern Methodist University (SMU) that, like Winkler County, has a danger of the random occurrence sinkholes at anytime, anywhere. http://blog.smu.edu/research/2018/03/20/radar-images-show-large-swath-of-texas-oil-patch-is-heaving-and-sinking-at-alarming-rates/
9. Holtec wants to bring 100,000 metric tons of this high-level radioactive nuclear waste through Odessa over 20 years after they are licensed. Dallas, Midland and San Antonio city councils have already made resolutions prohibiting railcars from coming through their towns and exposing the citizens of their towns to this deadly radioactive waste. Every time a railcar passes by an area, it releases radiation. Cumulative effects could result in birth defects to a fetus as a pregnant woman is exposed to this waste by sitting on a railcar platform waiting to go to work every day as these railcars pass by.
10. The site can be seen from the air and is a beautiful target for terrorists during transit and after arrival at the site. All it would take is a suicide plane to hit this site and it would be worse than Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Holtec is talking about bringing 100,000 metric tons of spent plutonium to the site for a total of 10,000 partially buried canisters of spent fuel rods.
11. If radiation sullies our water or our oil, we might as well, just throw in the towel and move out as our property will have no value at all.
If we lose our oil or water, we lose our city.
If you do not consent to NRC licensing Holtec for this project, please voice your dissent!
The NRC Scoping Period for this Project ends May 29! You may request, no, demand that they extend the Scoping Period to more cities so more people may voice their opinions. The people along the train routes, Midland, Odessa, Albuquerque, El Paso, Dallas, etc. You may demand they extend the Scoping Period time for an additional three to six months.
This is too important for only two months of scoping and only three public hearings in only three towns!
Moving High-Level Nuclear radioactive waste across the nation to a temporary site when no permanent site has been found is unnecessary and irresponsible. The only winner in this is a private company named Holtec. The people of Eddy and Lea Counties who want this project and are being paid a pittance are not winners as they will be stuck with a Super Fund site forever.
If you would like to voice your opinion, you have until May 29 to write to the NRC at:
Office of Administration
Mail Stop: TWNF-7-A60M
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 2055-0001